Aug 30, 2014

Seven Quick Takes About School

ONE

This is the second week of the school year and we have already skipped a day. Three out of the four kids are suffering from seasonal allergies so we sorta took part of the day off yesterday and kinda made up for it today. We usually don't do school on Fridays, which makes it convenient when you need to make up work. There was a time when skipping a day would have made me twitchy. But I'm pretty much at peace with it now. We got math and reading done (and Nate made sure and did his computer programming) which is what matters, and the rest will get done eventually.


Kaytie drew a Ninja Egg for art class

TWO

Up until they started feeling puny, however, we were rocking along just fine.  Our schedule is working incredibly well. We are babysitting an adorable little boy this year and he arrives at 7:15. So we are starting school somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00 every day. Which means we can work hard for five hours and be done by lunch! We are all loving that. It gives us the afternoons to indulge in reading, history projects, trips to the park, science experiments and all the "fun" parts of school that we usually drop because we are still doing school well into the afternoon. It's like we have been given a gift of two hours in our day.


Daniel wore a mohawk for the first day of school. Later in the day, his sister sprayed it bright green. He was quite a sight to behold!

THREE

Kaytie and Nate have done well with keeping up their schedules. They have worked at their science projects. Kaytie has been reading about weather and taking notes. Nate has done a couple of experiments and will do a report on them next week. He has also been reading Chemistry: the birth of a science and narrating it to me. Both of them have taken the initiative to do the work they can do alone and to make sure I remember the work they need my help with. I am very proud of them!


Nate's science experiment: an egg in vinegar

FOUR

Independent reading is another thing that has gone over well! Much better than I expected. Every afternoon, while the baby sleeps, I set the timer for 30 minutes and tell the kids to read. It's like candy for Kaytie and Nate, of course, they have been bookworms for years now. This is really more for the benefit of Daniel and Abbie. They have reached the point where they can read almost fluently but they really don't enjoy it yet and never do it voluntarily. The purpose of independent reading is just to give them practice... practice without me sitting beside them so they realize they can experience the stories and the facts and the words all on their own and possibly even find it enjoyable! So far, Abbie reads happily for about 20 minutes and Daniel has managed 15-ish before he gets antsy and starts checking the timer. And this is only after two weeks. I have high hopes as to what they will be doing by the end of the year!


independent reading is more fun when you wear a princess dress

FIVE

In the interests of complete honesty, I must tell you that there are a few things that we haven't yet managed to pull off. Mostly our afternoon Charlotte Mason activities. There are various reasons for this and we plan to be much better about it starting next week. We haven't started back handicrafts, nature study, or our afternoon read alouds. But all three are firmly penned in starting Tuesday. I'll keep you updated...


anything on the computer is Nate's favorite subject, even math fact drills

SIX

There will be a post up soon about our history adventures. I have not been able to keep them in their proper weeks, but, thankfully, my kids are able to make the connections without keeping to the time constraints. In our Mystery of History reading we have made it to the Ice Age. In our activities we are still lingering in the Creation week. But the kids are having fun and I've tried to take pictures to share. But that will be a post of it's own.


Kaytie learning Latin grammar from "the funny dude"

SEVEN

All of our extracurricular activities start next week, except for Scouts, which starts the Monday after Labor Day. The kids are feeling a little overwhelmed, but I think they will get into the swing of things very quickly. We will be doing soccer, two co-ops, Bright Lights for the girls, Scouts for the boys, and an art class for Kaytie. Plus church. We will be busy. But it only lasts a couple of months, then we get a break.


Kaytie making it rain in a jar. Abbie was her photographer.



Aug 26, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Ubersmart Math Facts

Math is not the highlight of our lives around here. And I believe that one of the reasons for that is because we seem to have a hard time memorizing math facts. It's one thing to have to pause and think for awhile when you are merely adding, but as you move up the complex ladder of learning that is math, you need to spend less time figuring out what seven plus nine is and more time writing down the answer to that super large long division problem. We've used a lot of methods and computer programs and games to remedy this, but haven't really found something that was capable of sticking around long term.


However, for the past few weeks, we have been reviewing a program that seems to be different. Produced by UberSmart SoftwareUberSmart Math Facts is a downloadable (not online) program that was designed by a homeschooling dad and computer programmer when he couldn't find one that met the needs of his own kids. 


Ubersmart was an easy download, even for a non-technology-speaker like me. Just follow the instructions, click a few clicks and there you go... 

It is just as easy to use. I was able to set up a "profile" for each of the kids and one for me. The homeschool price allows for over 8 students and can be downloaded onto multiple computers. Since we only have one working computer available to us, I didn't worry much about this feature, but if you have more, be aware that since the program downloads to the computer, it won't "share" your work from computer to computer. So each person would need to work on the same computer every time. 

I also have an administrator account that is password protected. (I got to choose the password!) With this I can change settings like:
  • how many seconds they get to answer the problem
  • how many seconds defines when they master a problem
  • how much time is put on the clock for the Beat the Clock learning mode
  • where I want their multiplication and division tables to stop, I can choose any number between 9 and 12
  • prevent students from retaking mastered tests (comes in handy if your kid likes to take the easy route and then say, "I'm done!" It is also helpful if your child is easily confused.)
  • the number of wrong and slow problems allowed for the set to be considered mastered. You can choose from 0 up to 9. I choose 0 because, well... mastery is knowing them all!
  • the size of their screen (full screen makes the background purple so they can't see/ get distracted by the regular background but doesn't make the actual workspace any bigger)

The first thing I had the kids do was take the assessment test. The first part of the test measures the children's ability to count, sequence, and recognize relationships between numbers (greater than/less than) and odd and even numbers. Their speed and proficiency at typing in numbers is also scored. If they do not do well on this portion of the test, the test ends and it is recommended that they work on these things. If they pass it, they move on to addition facts. Then to subtraction, then multiplication, and finally division. At any point that they do not show mastery the test ends and you are told where the child needs to start. Even if you do well and get to the end of the test, there is still a recommendation provided. For example, I answered all of the addition questions quickly and correctly so my assessment report said that I had them mastered. I answered all of the subtraction questions correctly, but some of my responses were slow, so my assessment report said I was slow in the 2s, 7s and 9s. I missed questions in the multiplication and division sections, and the assessment report told me how many and in which fact family. The final recommendation was that I use Ubersmart Math Facts to improve my consistency in subtraction, multiplication and division. 

I loved that the information for each of us was so detailed and I could see exactly where each child had a weakness and where they needed to focus. This reports are kept in the program, but I can also export them to my computer so I can access them easily and keep a permanent record.



There are six different parts to this program. First, is the "Learn" section. Here, the child can choose between dot cards (they look like dominoes and are for the younger children) and regular flash cards with numbers. You can choose to have numbers behind the dot cards or not. You can choose to have your problems shuffled or not for both the dots and the regular cards. And finally you choose which operation you want and which fact family. In this section, a problem is shown and the child is supposed to "guess" at the answer. They then click "show" and the correct answer appears. This was one of my favorite parts of the program because it allows the child to learn the material before they are tested on it! This keeps them from feeling "dumb" because they did poorly on the tests and it also keeps them from learning it wrong. The correct answer is immediately and consistently reinforced! I don't know of any other math drill program that does this! 


Next is the "Practice" section. The child can choose to practice with dot cards, regular math facts, or keyboard entry. This last is for younger children who are still learning their way around a keyboard. The card displays a number for the child to type in. For the regular math facts, the Practice section is a place where the child can see what they know in a low pressure situation. They are not being tested but they are still being evaluated. In this section, if a question is answered incorrectly that card is moved to the "back of the deck" and the child gets another chance. In this section, if the child has taken a test for a particular family, he/she can choose a "Focused" practice and will be given only those problems that he/she got wrong on the test. This is another of my favorite parts!


The "Test" section is next. Again, the student chooses the operation and fact family. They can also choose whether to see their time displayed or not. Kaytie, who doesn't do well under stress, chooses not but Nate, who loves the challenges chooses to be able to watch his time tick away. As they take the test, the screen displays three cards: the one they just answered, the one they are currently working on, and the one coming up next. At first, my kids were very distracted by this, but they did adjust and learn to tune the extra cards out. As they take the Test, the program monitors not only correct and incorrect answers but also the speed with which they answered. They must answer every question (or however many you have chosen) both quickly and correctly before that fact family is considered mastered. 


Next is the "Compete" section. This is a test, basically, but your results are compared with all the other kids who are using UberSmart. This is a new feature, but Nate and I both enjoyed playing and seeing how our times stacked up against other people!

The "Report"  and  "Maintain" sections are just for me, the teacher. For each child, I can look at seven different charts and graphs that tell me exactly what the kids have done, which facts they have attempted, made progress on, mastered, did poorly on (whether they answered incorrectly or just too slowly), what tests they took when, and what their overall grade was. This keeps me up to date not only on how they are doing, but on who is saying they are working but actually not. ;) The Maintain section is where I make all the changes I listed above.


We have had so much fun using this program. I told them all to start at the very beginning, with addition of zeros and as they master each family, to move on to the next. When they got to one they didn't immediately master, they could spend time in Learn and Practice mode until they were ready to take the test. I require a certain amount of time each day that they spend on the program, but generally, they get to decide how to use that time, whether learning, practicing or testing.

I love Ubersmart Math Facts for several reasons. Math facts can be a time-consuming hassle to teach as well as drill, so I am delighted to have a program that does both. I no longer to have supervise any of the process. It is such a relief to no longer have to keep track in my head or (futilely) on paper of which child knows which facts well/ semi-well/ or not at all. I no longer have to time them nor keep up with flashcards that inevitably wind up spilled all over, lost, or damaged. Each child can start the program themselves and complete their daily allotment of time without any hand-holding from me. This is something they can do in those waiting times when they need me, but I am busy with a sibling.


I love that Ubersmart teaches the kids the facts, provides a place to practice, and also keeps up with each individual fact. I can tell at any time which fact is mastered, which they know really well, pretty well, not well, or not at all.

I love that after they finished a fact family they always heard cheering and applause and got an encouraging message like this one:


I love the Focused practice section. I love that they can work on just the problems they need, but then, when they are testing, those problems are thrown back into the whole "pool" so to speak and they have to remember them all mixed in with the other problems.

I love that they had to hit "Enter" when they answered a question so that if they accidentally hit the wrong key they could "erase" it and try again and it didn't count as a wrong answer.

I love that it is a basic program. It doesn't have exciting games and bright graphics. I liked that it focused on getting the job of memorization done and there was not a lot of other things to distract them. To be totally honest, this was not a feature that appealed to my children, however, sometimes you just have to buckle down and do the hard work in order to get results.

I love that Kaytie can choose not to see her time so she doesn't get flustered and panic. I love that Nate can compete against other kids and feel challenged and stretched. I love that Abbie can practice her keyboarding skills so that not knowing where the right key is doesn't count against her. I love that Daniel asks me, "Can I work on UberSmart again today, Mom?" But most of all, I love that they are each making steady progress toward mastery of their math facts and that I can see it whenever I want. 



I asked them to share their opinions with you and this is what they said:

Kaytie: I kinda liked it.  It's not very exciting. I did like having all the options. I liked turning the timer off. I would recommend it for kids who want to learn their facts without a lot of bells and whistles. 

Nate: It's enjoyable. It's not as fun as the name makes it sound like it will be but it's not something I hate doing.

Daniel: I liked it because it helped me know my numbers more and answer them faster. It helped me to learn all my facts and learn the ones I didn't know and helped me practice them. 

Abbie: It's fun. I especially like practicing with the dot cards. I like doing tests because it helps me learn them more. I do not have anything that I don't like it about.

You can buy UberSmart Math Facts for $24.95. It's a one-time purchase and you can use it for all of your kids! This program is aimed at K to 6th grade, but it's really usable for kids (and adults) of all ages that need to work on their math facts. However, it only works with Windows 7, 8, Vista or XP.


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Aug 23, 2014

The Students of Spesamor Academy

We haven't yet taken our official pictures for this year. But I kinda liked these from the 4th of July, in our homemade shirts, so I'll just use these for this post. :)


Kaytie is our rising 6th grader. She is the creative child. She is almost always making something. She likes to sew, draw, paint, knit, crochet, sculpt, cook, bake, write stories, poems and songs, design flower bouquets, and build with cardboard and paper. If it involves making something from nothing, then she is on board! 

She also spends many hours reading. She reads anything that she can get her hands on but her current favorite book is Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Her other interests are: soccer, talking and playing with friends, riding bikes, horses, jumping on the trampoline, making plans and creating lists. 

Her favorite subject in school is reading.



Nate is a rising 5th grader. He is the funny one. He loves electronics, telling jokes, science experiments, bug hunting, super-heroes, and talking. He really loves talking. He likes to learn facts and share them with the rest of us. He tends toward obsessions and his current one is Dr. Who. If there is anything you want to know about the good doctor, Nate can tell you.

He loves to read. His favorite books seem to be non-fiction books that are full of facts, but he also enjoys Fablehaven, The Ranger's Apprentice and is currently devouring Redwall.

His other interests are: soccer, friends, bikes, playing outside, snap circuits, the periodic table of the elements and Cub Scouts.

His favorite subject in school is math.



Daniel is our rising 3rd grader. He is all boy. He loves dirt, noise, and anything gross. He is rarely clean or wearing a shirt but can usually be found barefoot. He is good at making us all laugh with his silly faces and can dance like Fred Astaire. 

He is very sweet, when he wants to be and knows how to give a compliment, a hug, or an act of kindness at just the right moment to make his mom or sisters just melt like putty.

Daniel loves snails, bugs of any sort, digging in the dirt, soccer, riding bikes, playing cops and robbers with our walkie-talkies, jumping on the trampoline, making weird noises, and puns.

His favorite subject in school is copywork.




Abbie is a rising 2nd grader. She is the drama of the family. Abbie is a pixie that scatters sunshine and rainbows and sparkles everywhere she goes. She is ornery and mischievous, apt to turn fierce if crossed. She is your typical youngest child, full of contradictions and fully capable of turning any situation to her advantage when and if needed. 

Abbie loves playing with her dollhouses and her Barbies. She has a gift for loving animals. She loves to color, be read to, ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, play dress up, play with her big brother, get dirty outside, and play soccer. 

Her other interests are: Captain America, gymnastics, sheep, monkeys (especially Steve from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), and making people laugh.

Her favorite subject in school is reading to mom.

This post is linked up with the  Not Back To School Bloghop

Aug 20, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Wizzy Gizmo

As Christians, our family places a lot of importance on knowing the Bible. Not just the cute little Sunday School stories, and not even just memorizing Scripture, but knowing facts and details about the Bible, like who wrote the book of Philippians and when. We also want them to dig deeper and understand what is the purpose of each book and what is God trying to tell us? The thing is, however, these kinds of things can be difficult to teach in an way that engages kids and makes them want to learn.

Enter Wizzy Gizmo's Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament!


This pack contains 27 cards. One for each book of the New Testament. They are large cards, the size of a small paperback book, and they are made of sturdy cardstock. They need to be big because they are packed with information. The suggested age range is from 2 years of age on up! I know it was simple enough that my seven year old could handle it and I, at my undisclosed age of "on up" learned some new things!



The front of each card contains an overview of the book. It tells you who wrote it and why, who they wrote it to and the theme of it in two or three well-written paragraphs. There are also little boxes on the side that tell you how many chapters are in the book, the author, and the date it was written. On the bottom is a key verse from that book.




The back of the card is divided into five color-coded sections. First is the outline of the book, next is a list of the key chapters, then a list of key passages, then key doctrines, and finally, key people in the book, with a short description so you know who they are and why they are important. Along the top the theme is written in bold letters and then a sentence of explanation.





These cards were easy to use. We have a "morning time" "circle time" "morning meeting"... whatever you want to call it and I just dropped these cards into that time. First, I read the front of the card aloud to the kids. This took me only a minute or two. Really easy to add into our day. I read it every day for a week (we school four days so it was, I thought, the right amount of time for my elementary aged kids). Each time I read it, I had them repeat the key verse after me. The third and fourth days, I started asking questions.

"How many chapters does First Corinthians have?"

"When was the book of John written?"

"Who wrote the book of Colossians?"

Again, this only took a few minutes of our day but they grasped and retained the information quickly. The next week, I moved to the back of the card. I started the day by asking questions about the front of the card and then I started reading the back. I devoted a day to each section, squishing whichever happened to be the two shortest sections into one day. We also repeated the theme and the verse (from the front) every day.

After two weeks, or eight days, even my seven year old remembered an amazing amount of information about each book!

Once we finished several cards, I added a review game to our time. I would call out a time period, or an author or a theme or a key person etc. and the kids would have to tell me which book they belonged to. The fun part, of course, is that many of the people and time periods would fit more than one book, so there are lots of opportunities for a correct answer and they were able to keep me on my toes!

I had Kaytie and Nate write a summary of the front of the card in their own words. Then we could use those summaries in a "mix and match" game where they would race each other to match their summaries to the correct card.

The little kids practiced putting the cards in order which helps them find books in their Bibles.

We have had a lot of fun with these cards and I'm sure as we go along we will find more fun ways to use them!

I loved using these cards because they provided me with the myriad of facts of the book that I wanted my kids to know all in one place. I didn't have to hunt anything down. The sturdy quality means I don't mind handing them over to my kids to quiz each other or just to peruse for fun. The color coding on the back makes it really easy to just focus on one part at at time.

The only con I have for these cards is that I wish they were laminated so that I didn't have to worry about them getting wet, since we use them in our Morning Time which we do at the table during breakfast. Well, no, actually, I have two cons... the other is that they don't have a pack for the Old Testament as well! Because we would LOVE to have a set!!!

I don't have any pictures to share with you because, since we use these cards at breakfast, the kids are still in their pajamas and they objected strongly to me putting those pictures on the blog, so, sorry, but you will just have to use your imagination on this one!

Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament is only $14.99. I don't generally comment on price, because it is so relative to each family's situation, but I honestly think that these cards are worth every penny of $14.99!

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Aug 11, 2014

Where We Learn

Our school room is not fancy and it's not beautiful. It's not a large, airy, sun-drenched room. We don't even do school in our school room! It's too small and too dark for us to work in. So we mostly just store our supplies in there. But, don't think we aren't grateful. I remember well the days when our school stuff was in the main living area of our apartment, all up in my face every day. So never underestimate the delight of having a place for everything when that place is safely out of sight.

With that out of the way, here are our learning spaces. We'll start here, on your left as you step through the door. These books are for the kids' science explorations. These are the ones we own. Oh, and a history book. I am displaying these books in the hope that the kids will browse through them. At least the history book. The science ones will be assigned at one point or another whether they browse or not. This book display area is new and is a test. If it doesn't work, I'll do something else with this space.


Inside the cabinet is all the science "stuff". Magnets, Snap Circuit set, dinosaur games that we will use this year, sensory tubs, and a random collection of items that they are free to use to explore the world or to set up an experiment. When we have science kits, we keep them here.


Next is the art cabinet. On top we have crayons, markers, paintbrushes, rulers, pencils, pens, scissors, glue bottles... all in handy little cups or boxes that they can pick up and carry to the table when they want to use them.


In the top drawer we have stamps and ink pads, pencil sharpeners, erasers, glue sticks, sidewalk chalk, and a stash of foam pieces and pipe cleaners.


The second drawer is a bunch of random scraps... puff balls, stickers of all types, pieces of felt and foam, popsicle sticks, googly eyes... Kaytie has a much bigger collection of art/craft supplies in her room, but this is for everyone.


The bottom drawer holds painting supplies and (some) of our bubble toys. I don't know who took the rest of them nor when they plan to bring them back... possibly the same person who threw random scraps of paper in the paint bucket after I cleaned it out for pictures, {{sigh}}. Again, everything in these drawers is easily portable.


Next, comes our big white supply cabinet with the dinosaur skeleton on top. :)


Inside this cabinet I keep all of the manipulatives and cards that we might (or might not) use during the school year. I have everything from sign language flashcards to a Lite Bright to All About Spelling cards to little animals for Geography work.


In the bottom of the cabinet, I have a tub of P.E. supplies. We don't really worry about P.E. much these days. They have soccer in the spring and fall, and a trampoline and a lot of nearby parks to fill in the gaps, but sometimes, we just feel the need for games at home. I have jump-ropes, balls, ping pong paddles, etc. I even have our old alphabet exercise cards in here!

Down here, I also have puzzles, math manipulatives that we aren't currently interested in, some odds and ends, and files of paper games that I really need to sort through.


Next in the room is a wall of posters and our map that I actually kinda hate. I really want to get one that shows the countries. On the floor are Daniel and Abbie's book baskets. The blue one holds easy books for when they read alone, which they will do every day. And the green basket is harder books that they will read aloud to me, which they will also do every day. The black box holds our Math U See blocks.


Next is our math cabinet. On top is the cash register, Kaytie and Nate's Math U See fraction cards, and Newton. The yellow box holds all of Newton's innards. And also his brain. 


Inside the math cabinet are all the math "toys" that they are allowed to use whenever they like. The fraction stuff is new because Kaytie and Nate are starting fractions this year. Yea!


Then we have our globe (which often travels to the table), their science books that are library books (I don't like mixing our books with library books, it makes me twitchy), the Flip Flop Spanish flashcards that we haven't learned yet, math fact flashcards, and Logic of English flashcards. The drawers hold tiny supplies like paper clips, thumb tacks, sand timers, dry erase crayons, and much more. The white notebook is for Nate's STEM badge that he is working on for Cub Scouts. 


Now we come to the bookshelves. The top long bookshelf holds the kids' art creations (mostly Kaytie's) a broken scale that I'm holding out hope my husband can fix, and our collection of flags. Also a bear. The bottom long shelf holds Kaytie and Nate's book list of assigned fiction for next year. The short shelves on the right hold curriculum that we won't be using this year. The bottom shelf has history books for the year and all of our school-related DVDs and CDs.

On the built-in desk is a map of the USA. It's free-floating so that we can take it to the table if needed. It also has a world map on the back. There is also a pocket chart, a scale that works, my cutting tools, and two sets of drawers and a basket that hold my supplies. Stuff like tape, index cards, super glue... basically anything the kids are absolutely not supposed to touch. And finally we have teacher guides that I will need but not on a daily basis.


Underneath the built in desk we have the kids' boxes. These will eventually contain everything they need each day: pencil boxes, books, notebooks, and worksheets. They can either carry the entire box to the table to just pull out what they need. But they usually prefer to just take the box. Behind their boxes is a telescope and microscope set. Next is a file box of paper: printer paper, notebook paper, construction paper, photo paper, etc. Then a little basket of clipboards and small dry erase boards. The pink basket has file folder games for Daniel and Abbie, although they rarely use them anymore. 


The blue backpack is our Nature Study bag. The stack of books are history books for the school year 2015/2016 that really should be in the garage, but haven't made it there yet. The CD player is here because we rarely use it, we usually just pop the CDs into my laptop. The books are the start of our "reference library" this shelf has Bibles, Bible story books and science books.


This is the rest of our reference books. These are poetry collections, geography books, atlases, dictionaries, a thesaurus, and some "how to draw" books. On top are puzzle books that Abbie hasn't quite out-grown and a book about knot tying for our Scouts.


Finally, we have the art cards we studied last year, a magnetic calendar, and a poster of the ecological system of the prairie.


Between the school room and the rest of the house is our awesome laundry room. I use it for storage. This shelf contains: holiday stuff in the box on top; extra school supplies; playdough toys; beads and strings; the kids' piano music collection; cookie cutters that the kids use for playdough; my laminator; and some empty boxes and containers. You can also see our needs-to-be-emptied-trash can.


On the other side of the laundry room is a long counter with a sink. I love that sink! The kids use it for "grubby" work, pet care, science experiments, bathing baby dolls, and washing their hands when the kitchen sink is busy. And probably a lot of other things that I'd just as soon not know about.


In the far corner is our "nature table". The bottle is a vase for flowers. 


The tray holds old seashells, nuts, and just whatever the kids find that they think is cool... rocks, feathers, a funny little fuzzy ball that we think is a seed...


On the other end of the counter is the collection of books we use every day. The sewing machine lives here and on top of it is our Creche Conference basket. The big basket is full of the Teacher Guides I use daily. The blue basket holds the kids' Bibles for Creche Conference. You can also see our Math U See DVDs, a three hole punch, and a pencil sharpener. I adore this pencil sharpener! It works every day and we've had it over a year and the kids haven't torn it up. They can use it, too, so I am no longer responsible for sharpening pencils. It's amazing.


So now we come to where we actually "do" school! The dining room table. The majority of our work is done here because there is plenty of room for all four kids to spread out. I usually sit on one end, between Daniel and Abbie, but can move to the other end if Kaytie and Nate need me. In the foreground of the picture, you can see the bar: there are stools on the dining room side, so a kid can sit here and work if needed. And there on the right you can just see our newest pets: the goldfish Lox and Keys. 


This little corner is new. I finally got tired of juggling the white board and just hung it over here. It can be taken down if needed. And the desk we just recently bought from a fellow homeschooling family. The top lifts and there is a storage space where the boxes that hold our All About Spelling tiles perfectly fit. 


When we aren't at the table, we are working here. This is where I read aloud and where the two little kids read to me. Reading is more fun when you are snuggling, too! I can see the table from here, so I can keep an eye on the kids working there. Sometimes the big kids grab a clipboard and curl up on the couch to work. When it gets colder, the love seat will move to right about where the Dreaded Jungle Basset is lying so we can use the fireplace.


And finally, here is my desk. It doesn't usually look this tidy. I cleaned it up in your honor! 


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This post is linked up to the 6th Annual Not Back to School Bloghop

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